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Feds Agree To Prince William County Exemption From Provision Of Voting Rights Act

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Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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MANASSAS, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — If a federal court approves, Prince William County will be exempted from a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act.

The Justice Department says it filed a consent decree Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Virginia and its political subdivisions have been subject to the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s so-called preclearance requirements. The law requires states and localities with a history of racial discrimination in elections to obtain the Justice Department’s approval of any changes in voting qualifications and election practices.

There are slightly more than 208,000 active voters in the county according to the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Jurisdictions can seek an exemption if they can demonstrate a 10-year record of nondiscrimination in voting-related actions.

Since last summer, similar bailout applications have been approved for James City County, Rappahannock and Bedford counties and the cities of Bedford, Manassas Park and Williamsburg.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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